The Losers Review

by Ed Lau on May 7, 2010

Seems like there are quite a few comic book adaptations on the big screen these days with Kick-Ass released awhile ago and Iron Man 2 coming this week. Of course, the comic book adaptation always brings us to a slippery slope. Sometimes they can produce some very, very good movies such as the original Iron Man, Watchmen or V for Vendetta but for every one of those, we have at least ten Daredevil‘s or Ghost Rider‘s.

The Losers is based on the comic of the same name written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Jock. The series focuses on a black-ops, special forces team working for the government, consisting of the leader, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), second-in-command Roque (Idris Elba), communications specialist Jensen (Chris Evans), the driver, Pooch (Columbus Short) and the sniper, Cougar (Óscar Jaenada). After refusing to carry out a mission due to a moral conflict, the Losers are death listed and their helicopter is ordered to be shot down by the shadowy figure, Max (Jason Patric)…who is a sort of Keyser Söze character who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes of just about everything from arms deals to drug smuggling in the name of Uncle Sam.

With everyone thinking they’re dead, our heroes swear revenge and partner up with Aisha, played by the gorgeous Zoe Saldana, who mysteriously has the clout to smuggle them back into the States and also has the level of bad-assery to go toe-to-toe with Clay in an early fight sequence.

There are plenty of comic book movies that take themselves quite seriously with social satire or commentary but The Losers isn’t one of those movies. Right from the start with the quick cut intros complete with comic book-style cell shading, we know that this is intended as some mindless fun and not much more. It goes right for your sense of moral good and quickly identifies the good guys and the bad guys with little ambiguity…that is to say there isn’t much for the viewer to decide for themselves. Turn off your brains and enjoy the ride.

Although there won’t be any Oscar nominations here, everyone does a believable job. The dudes are macho enough that you could be convinced that they could shoot fifty guys with AK-47′s and escape with little more than scratches, sweat and dirt and while Zoe Saldana’s Aisha isn’t quite as scary as her comic book counterpart, she still appears to be able to kick a considerable number of asses. There’s only one scene, the one in the trailer where the silhouette of Aisha holding a rocket launcher like rifle before shooting a bunch of random explosives…causing Jensen to say “…that is a bad-ass chick.”, is an example of bad writing. However, to be fair, it happens almost exactly like that in the comic and Jensen is great comic relief in most scenes. That came as quite a surprise to me since Chris Evans was basically the same character in The Fantastic Four and I hated him in those films…but then again, those were just horrifically bad movies in the first place. There are a few scenes where the CG is evident and doesn’t mesh well with the movie but there are also some great camera tricks that bring the action right into your face.

This is a comic book action movie and the entire cast, the script and the directing practices surprising restraint. It’s a little over-the-top at times but not enough to take you out of the comic setting. Often action movies taking place in the present or near future are guilty of bending the laws of chemistry, physics or other sciences to the point where realism isn’t possible anymore but most of the time, that isn’t enjoyable because they try to give you some sort of BS explanation to convince you that what’s going on is somehow possible…as if we’re all idiots that would think a bunch of words we don’t know the meaning to somehow makes the impossible now possible. The Losers doesn’t try any of that with any sort of science mumbo-jumbo. It knows it’s a comic book movie. Here’s the cool thing that happens…it just does. The details aren’t important but look at how shiny!

Again, like Kick-Ass, I found the comic book to be a deeper, more enjoyable experience than the movie and again, I understand why they had to change what they did for the big screen. This time, though, I did it right and watched the movie first. The comic has some much different elements and, probably due to the extra violence, a darker tone. Some of the changes with Aisha and Max in particular are very, very cool.

Overall, there is a lot of fun to be had here and if you’re looking for a great action movie to check out before all the big blockbusters inevitably disappoint us or infuriate us with how terrible they are, then The Losers is that movie.

Verdict: 8.0 out of 10

in Entertainment

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sell textbooks online May 10, 2010 at 6:00 am

The original Comic is always better than the movie. I find they are still entertaining to watch, unless they seriously murder the plot. Did you ever watch the Maxx series after reading the comic?

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